At OECollaboration, a technology company that develops virtual collaboration software for new companies, Mike Jones is a new manager. One of the biggest challenges he has faced is that the team that he is managing is well established and because he is an outsider, the team members haven’t yet developed trust in him.
Two weeks into his new employment, Mike held a meeting and discussed all of the changes to the remote work agreements as well as implementing new meeting requirements for each employee to have a biweekly meeting scheduled with him to discuss their projects. The team was outraged, they were not excited, and the following days he wasn’t greeted in a friendly way; in addition, his team seemed less engaged when asked to participate in team functions.
Tracy James is also a new manager at OECollaboration who started at the same time as Mike, in a similar situation where she is a new manager of an existing team. Tracy was able to hold a meeting the first day on the job to listen to her team and get to know them. During this meeting she also told the team about herself and her past experiences. Additionally, she held one-on-one meetings to listen to each of her team members to discuss what they were working on and their career goals. After observation and discussion with upper management, she aligned her own team goals closely with the skills and experiences of her new team. She met with the whole team to make changes to a few policies, explaining why they were being changed, and set the strategy for the team moving forward.
Because she got her team involved and learned about them before implementing her new strategy, this was well received. Her team still had questions and concerns, but they felt like they could trust her and that they were included in the changes that were being made.
- What challenges can a new manager encounter when starting to manage an existing team?
- What strategies can a new manager implement to ensure that his new team is engaged with him and builds relationships to succeed in his new role?
Sources: J. Morris, “How Smart Manager’s Win over New teams Without Bringing in Free Food” The Muse, accessed January 4, 2019, https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-smart-managers-win-over-new-teams-without-bringing-in-free-food; B. Tulgan, “The Challenge of Taking Over Leadership of an Existing Team,” Association for Talent Development, January 5, 2015, https://www.td.org/insights/the-challenge-of-taking-over-leadership-of-an-existing-team;